(So I’ve been working on a new blog! This is not what I had planned for a first post, but here we are anyway. Also ignore the social media links. I don’t know how to make them go away.)
Today I posted this picture of my family and I from a gathering with our home school co-op friends on FB. It received many likes and even a comment about our great family, and there was much love and support.
Then, I saw a video a friend had posted of the latest police shooting and killing of an unarmed black man. My friend who posted this video is black. Many of the people who commented were white.
Friends- I’m worried about the comments that I read. I’m worried about how non people of color are responding to these shootings. I’m worried about the excuses people are making for these officers. I’m worried about the obvious lack of sympathy for these people and their families and for the black community that is SUFFERING.
WE ARE SUFFERING.
WE HAVE BEEN SUFFERING.
I’m worried about why this suffering is being diminished.
I’m worried about why so many Christian people don’t feel the need to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, except ignore it or worse- rationalize it.
So I want to try something here. Look at the picture of my family again. Look at my boys. Some of you have high-fived these kids on the way into church service. You’ve given them a push on the swing at a play date. You’ve served them cake at your child’s birthday party. Now, look at my husband. You’ve handed him the communion plate, tossed a football with him at a picnic. You’ve prayed for him in connect group. Are you looking at the picture? Now, I have some questions for you:
What if my husband was the one who had just been shot and killed by the police? Unarmed, dying needlessly in the street? What would you tell me to my face? Would you say, “Look, being a police officer is a hard job. There are lots of good cops out there. I have cops in my family and I feel like you aren’t respecting their job. It’s a sad thing about your husband, but you can’t blame the police for this”?
Would you say, “The police told him to keep his hands down and he didn’t. He didn’t follow the rules so he got what was coming to him. You have to follow rules- simple as that”?
Would you look me in the eye and say those things? I read those comments today.
What if it was one of my boys sitting on a park bench, holding an air soft gun, who had been gunned down by police who never even gave him the option to drop the “weapon”?
Would you say, ” Well, your son looked older than he was and how are the police really supposed to know it was a fake gun, so it was just a sad accident”?
Would you tell me, “I’m sorry you’re so sad about your son, but really, ALL lives matter, not just your son’s life. We need to be focusing on everyone, not just singling him out”?
Would you tell me, “Your son was dressed like a ‘thug’. He looked like he was up to no good. If he hadn’t been dressed like that he wouldn’t have been shot”?
I’ve read those comments this year.
Would you tell me those things if it were our family being judged and criticized and actually BLAMED after a death like this? Would you come to the funeral and offer some of those words for “comfort”?
I’m sure the answer is no. If it were our family I know that your hearts would be broken. I know that you would be devastated. I know you’d be sending cards and messages and casseroles. That you’d be hugging and praying and asking God for comfort and healing and change.
Friends, this the response WE need from you every time there is racial injustice because, the thing is, every time this happens, it feels like it could have been my family. It could have been my husband reading a book in his car. It could have been my son sitting on a park bench. It could have been my cousins in a routine traffic stop. It could have been my brother in law outside of a convenience store.
I know it’s uncomfortable for me to talk about this, but I can’t be silent about these things anymore because being silent could mean no change and there has to be change. For the sake of my husband and children and family members. And you know what? For the sake of yours, too.
So, please don’t tell me “All Lives Matter”, please don’t tell me “It’s sad, but…”. Just tell me you care.
Tell me you don’t understand what it’s like to be black. Tell me you don’t understand what it’s like to fear the things I fear. Tell me you don’t have all the answers but you want to know more, you want to help, you want to see change. Don’t argue with me about why I’m hurting. Don’t argue with me about why I’m angry. Don’t try to be right. And please don’t try to make me responsible for why these things are happening.
And after all that, maybe ask to meet me for coffee and listen to my stories and my family’s stories.
Maybe try to hear me. Try to hear us. And pray.